Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Sharon Leech-Hofland


A scientific attempt to correlate weather and lunar variables with behavior disturbances in humans began to surface in the 1960's, but the results have been inconsistent. Most of the studies have used only one weather variable, i.e., lunar phase, or temperature, or have used indirect methods of measuring disturbed behavior, such as telephone where study is needed to determine if there is a correlation between climatic variables and actual observed incidences of acting-out behavior. The problem under investigation is this study was: What is the relationship between the climatic conditions of temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and lunar phase, and the frequency of acting-out behavior of patients in a psychiatric setting? While there are relatively little data available on factors that contribute to acting-out in psychiatric hospitals, Tardiff points out that there is growing concern that acting-out psychiatric patients pose a danger to professionals and mental health care workers responsible for their care as well as to other patients. For example, Fottrell in his study of three large psychiatric hospitals, found that around ten percent of the patients in psychiatric settings exhibited acting-out behavior during one year. Fettrell also found that nursing staff were most commonly the victims, comprising sixty-three percent of the total incidents gathered. Twenty-seven percent of the total incidents involved acting-out behavior directed at other patients and three percent of the patients committed acting out behavior against themselves. Lanza found that the victims' reactions to assault can last much longer than the time the victims are away from work. Victims feel helpless, irritable, and depressed after having been assaulted. The state psychiatric hospital in which this study took place reported 347 incidents of employee injuries by acting out patients in 1982. Statistics from that year indicate approximately a seventeen percent acting-out rate. King contended that psychiatric hospital employees' reactions to the acting out patient lead them to follow one of three courses of action. First, they may reject the patient thereafter and try to rid themselves of responsibility for that patient's care. Second, they may wish to punish and may be overly punitive. Third, they make take on an appeasing stance least the patient again acts-out. Concessions which are out of keeping with the patient's treatment goals are made. Thus, acting-out in the psychiatric hospital has negative effects both for the patients and the employees.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Mentally ill
Psychotherapy patients
Medical climatology
Human beings -- Influence of climate



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State